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Tennessee CDL Test Requirements and Endorsements

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  • Learn the different types of CDLs
  • Discover what you'll need at the DMV
  • Get prepared for the skills test

Get Your CDL

Are you ready to earn your Tennessee commercial driver's license? Before you go to the DMV, there is a ton of information you should become familiar with - our resource guide can help! Here, you'll discover various facts about the knowledge and skills tests.


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Could You Benefit from a CDL?

To operate a commercial vehicle in the State of Tennessee, you will find earning a Tennessee commercial driver's license to be a necessity. Endorsements are required for double/triple trailers, tanker vehicles, passenger vehicles, and vehicles placarded for hazardous materials.

  • Class A License - This license will allow you to operate a combination vehicle with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,000 pounds, provided the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B License - This license will permit you to operate a single or combination vehicle where the GVWR of the single vehicle exceeds 26,000 pounds. The vehicle in tow must not exceed 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C License - This license is for vehicles designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, as well as vehicles placarded for hazardous materials that don't fit into the above sections.

CDL Skills Test

Only after you successfully complete a knowledge test will you then be able to take a skills test. It is during this skills test that you will be judged in the following areas: pre-trip inspection, basic vehicle control, and on-road driving. These tests must be conducted in the type of vehicle in which you wish to be licensed to drive.

  • Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection - You will need to know if your vehicle is safe to drive. You will be asked to perform an inspection and state you specific findings.
  • Basic Vehicle Control - You will need to be able to properly control your vehicle. During this test, you will be ordered to move your vehicle forward, backward, and turn it within a defined area.
  • On-Road Test - You will need to prove that you can safely drive your vehicle in a variety of traffic situations, including: left and right turns, intersections, railway crossings, and more.

More CDL Requirements

In order to obtain your CDL, you will need to pass a physical examination every two years. You must possess good hearing, 20/40 vision with or without glasses or corrective lenses, and a 70-degree field of vision in each eye. Drivers cannot be colorblind.

At the DMV

Upon arriving at the local DMV, make sure you have the following items: a current driver's license, a Department of Transportation Physical Examination Form, and your social security card. You will also need to have proof of US citizenship and proof of residence..

Tennessee ID and Required Documents

Do You Need More Information?

Tennessee CDL Manual: Tennessee CDL Driver's Handbookpdf

For Federal Requirements for a CDL:

For Medical Requirements for a CDL: